Monday, November 12, 2007

Controlling Violence

David Dufresne has just published a timely book on how the police maintain order and control violence in France. Maintien de l'ordre looks at the evolution of police tactics in dealing with demonstrations and "difficult neighborhoods." As interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy ordered that police in the cités be replaced by CRS specially trained in the control of violence and disorder. Helicopters and other military equipment were also brought in. Dufresne also details the elaborate negotiations between police and demonstrators and the means of communication used to control crowds in large demonstrations. And he considers police tactics for dealing with "uncooperative" demonstrators. In the video interview he suggests that the CRS have begun to tire of their new mission in the suburbs: routine policing was not the métier for which they thought they had trained. Finally, the author examines the 2005 riots as a contest between Villepin and Sarkozy, the latter haunted by fears of a police slip-up that might have discredited him (as the minister in charge of the police) and shifted the advantage to his arch-rival.

1 comment:

Scott Guye said...

I am curious, is there any commentary concerning the success of Sarkozy's decision to move the CRS forces in to confront demonstrations and urban violence as opposed to how the metropole police fared beforehand?

The French have always relied on a greater show of force in their tactics (at least in my perception); Sarkozy's decision would seem to be an extension of that.